How to clean a cast

Learn how to thoroughly wash your pan without causing damage.

If you own a cast iron skillet, you know that cleaning it properly is important. Cast iron pans can rust easily without proper care and should be seasoned in order to build flavor. But if you know exactly how to care for yours, a true cast iron skillet will last a lifetime—and it'll continue to get better with age. Ahead, find out how to clean cast iron and enameled cast iron pans, plus how to properly season a cast iron skillet.

How to Clean Cast Iron Skillets

The most important thing to know about cleaning cast iron skillets (meaning non-enameled) is that you should not use soap, soak it in water overnight, or put it in the dishwasher. Doing any of these things can ruin its natural seasoning. Instead, use very hot water and a mild, non-abrasive sponge to clean the pan after each use. Avoid using steel wool or other harsh materials to clean, as they can also damage the pan. To remove any stuck-on bits of food, use a combination of coarse salt and hot water to form a paste and scrub gently, then rinse with hot water. After washing a cast iron skillet, dry it thoroughly to remove any excess water droplets and prevent rust from forming.

How to Season Cast Iron Skillets

Seasoning a cast iron skillet has nothing to do with herbs and spices; instead, it's all about using oil to build up a nonstick surface and prevent rusting. While you should clean the skillet after each use, season it as often as you like by rubbing a small amount of cooking oil on the inside of the pan using a paper towel or dish cloth. Heat the skillet in a 350°F oven for one hour, which bonds the oil to the pan to create a natural nonstick surface. "The fat becomes carbon particles, which creates the naturally non-stick, or easy release. The more people cook with cast iron, the more oils are imparted onto the cookware. With the heat from cooking, they become carbon particles," says Mark Kelly of Lodge Cast Iron.

How to clean a cast

Furniture and decorating styles change frequently, but in many homes, cast iron fireplaces provide timeless focal points around which these changes take place. A well-presented cast iron fireplace could prove a deal clincher if you are competing for a house sale with an otherwise identical dwelling in the Bay Area. A bit of good old-fashioned elbow grease will bring your fireplace back up to its former glory. Once the job’s done, a little regular maintenance will keep the fireplace in good condition.

Cleaning the Fireplace

Cover the floor around the edge of your fireplace with drop cloths. This will protect your floor covering from soot and ash.

Put on a face mask and goggles before removing all debris from the fireplace. If the cinders and ash are completely cold, lift them out by hand, and place them straight into a trash bag. However, if they are still warm, use a metal shovel to transfer the cinders and ash to a metal bucket. Allow the fireplace to cool completely before continuing.

Sweep the entire surface of your cast iron fireplace vigorously with a wire brush to get rid of any remaining debris. Dampen a cotton cloth with a few drops of mineral spirits, and wipe down the fireplace’s surfaces with it. This will remove fine dust.

Examine your clean fireplace carefully for any signs of damage or missing parts. Make sure it has a raised hearth underneath the fire and a decorative hearth to the front.

Inspect the rear of the fire for any cracks or holes. If you find one, fill it with fire cement using a trowel. Also use the trowel to remove any excess cement, thereby giving the surface an even appearance.

Examine the grate to establish whether it should be secured to the fireplace. If this is the case, you will need either screws or wire loops.

Restoring the Cast Iron

Remove flaky covering from the cast iron using fine grade steel wool or sandpaper. Begin in an inconspicuous area to establish how much work is necessary. Clean right down to bare metal if the surface covering is very flaky and cracked.

Apply a commercial grade paint stripper if you cannot clear away all the covering with steel wool or sandpaper. Leave the paint stripper in position for the time recommended by the manufacturer, then use a spatula to remove all traces of the metal covering.

Wipe the bare metal with a cloth dipped in mineral spirits and thoroughly wrung out. This will neutralize the surface after the use of paint stripper.

Apply black stove paint to the cast iron fireplace. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully in terms of the drying times and number of coats.

Apply grate polish when the paint is thoroughly dry. To seal the surfaces, apply nonflammable linseed oil with a soft cloth.

Attach the soft dusting brush to your vacuum cleaner and remove all dust and other debris from the mantel and your cast iron fireplace’s surrounds. Apply polish to the wood, and buff to a shine.

How to clean a cast

A cast iron pan is durable, can go from the camp stove to the campfire, and is something that will easily last a lifetime and beyond with proper care.

There are a lot of reasons to love cooking with cast iron while camping.

Unfortunately, many people have no idea how to clean and care for their cast iron skillet, and as a result, they don’t end up using it very often.

But not anymore!

Washing your cast iron pan while camping is actually very easy and quick.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you exactly how to do it.

Let’s get started!

Note: The links below may contain affiliate links.

How to clean a cast

How to clean a cast

Cast Iron Seasoning

A cast iron pan must be seasoned properly before it can be used.

The seasoning on your cast iron pan is the dark layer of carbonized oil that covers the raw iron.

It helps protect your pan from rust and also gives your pan a non-stick quality.

The seasoning on your pan will build up as you use it and cook with oil and butter. It just keeps getting better and better with use.

When we’re cleaning, we want to make sure we preserve this wonderful seasoning layer.

Cast Iron Dont’s

In order to preserve the seasoning, you never want to:

use harsh cleaning soaps or chemicals

use sharp or abrasive metal cleaning utensils (like steel wool)

soak your skillet in water

Supplies You’ll Need:

Here are the cleaning supplies you’ll need instead:

pot scraper – this pot scraper tool is awesome for getting those stuck-on food bits off your cast iron with or without water

sponge – I like to use the Scrub Daddy sponge while camping. It’s anti-microbial and designed to be firmer in cold water and softer in warm water. It also has a small loop that makes it easy to hang it up to dry when I’m done cleaning.

clean lint-free towel – used to dry the cast iron right after cleaning

seasoning spray used to preserve the seasoning and prevent rust

Avoiding Rust

You want to avoid rust on your cast iron pan. That’s why you never want to soak it in water.

If you have aluminum or stainless steel pans at home, you might soak them in the sink for a while if there’s some stubborn stuck-on food. You don’t want to do that with your cast iron skillet at home or at camp.

Thermal Shock

Rapidly cooling your pan can lead to thermal shock which can create warps or cracks in your cast iron.

After cooking and before you start cleaning, you want to let your pan cool naturally.

Prefer to watch?

The video below walks you through all the steps of how to clean your cast iron pan while camping:

Simple “Cleaning”

Most of the time, for cleaning my cast iron pan, I simply use the pot scraper to get any remaining food bits off and throw them in the garbage.

Then I will take a piece of paper towel and wipe off any excess oil. That’s it!

This method works really well after cooking simple things like pancakes or quesadillas.

Cleaning with Water

What if you cooked something that’s sticky, super greasy, or harder and stuck on the pan?

Simply wiping with a paper towel isn’t going to cut it.

Here’s the step-by-step cast iron cleaning method:

Let the pan cool to a safe temperature to handle.

Use the pot scraper to scrap the food bits, sticky sauce, or cooled fat out of the pan and into the trash.

Next, If needed, add some water to the pan. At this point, you can add a little mild biodegradable soap to the pan if desired. Go through another round of scraping with the water, or use a sponge. Discard the water.

Repeat the scraping and water process until the pan is clean. Usually, I only need to do one round, but if your pan is really dirty, you might have to do it another time.

Give the pan a final rinse with clean water. Then, immediately wipe it completely dry with a lint-free towel.

Lastly, I rub it completely with seasoning spray or mild cooking oil. Use a piece of paper towel to spread the oil and wipe away any excess.

We’ll teach you how to clean Lodge cast iron in three simple steps.

Wash your cast iron cookware by hand. You can use a small amount of soap. If needed, use a pan scraper for stuck on food. For stubborn, stuck-on food, simmer a little water for 3-5 minutes, then use the scraper after the pan has cooled. Our Seasoning Care Kit has everything you need to wash and care for cast iron the right way.

Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. If you notice a little black residue on your towel, it’s just seasoning and is perfectly normal.

Rub a very light layer of cooking oil or Seasoning Spray onto the surface of your cookware. Use a paper towel to wipe the surface until no oil residue remains.

Whether you have a seasoned cast iron skillet, a Dutch oven, a grill pan, or bakeware, each piece of our cast iron cookware follows the exact same steps for cleaning.

Can I soak my cast iron pan?

No! Soaking cast iron in water is a recipe for rust. If you need to remove sticky or stubborn stuck-on food, use a nylon scrubbing brush or a pan scraper and rinse under warm water. Be sure to thoroughly dry your pan.

Note: If you do accidentally leave your pan in water for too long and it develops rust, don’t panic! With a little extra care, you can remove the rust and continue using your cast iron cookware.

Can I use soap to wash cast iron?

Contrary to popular belief, you can use a small amount of soap to clean cast iron cookware! Large amounts of soap can strip the seasoning off your pan, but you can easily re-season your pan as needed.

Can I use steel wool or a metal scrubber to clean my cast iron pan?

No! We recommend using a pan scraper or the Lodge Chainmail Scrubber to remove any stuck-on residue.

We only recommend using steel wool or a metal scrubber to remove rust before reseasoning.

Can I put my cast iron pan in the dishwasher?

No. Our cast iron cookware should be washed by hand. A dishwasher will remove the seasoning and likely cause rust. For dishwasher-safe cookware, check out our heat-treated serveware.

Scrub

Scour the rusty pan with warm, soapy water and steel wool. It’s okay to use soap since you are preparing to re-season the cookware. Rinse and hand dry thoroughly.

Apply a very thin, even layer of cooking oil to the cookware (inside and out). If you use too much oil, your cookware may become sticky.

Place the cookware in the oven upside down on the top rack. Place a large baking sheet or aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any excess oil that may drip off the cookware. Bake at 450-500 degrees F for one hour. Allow to cool and repeat as necessary to achieve the classic black patina.

While maintaining the seasoning should keep your cast iron in good condition, accidents happen and your pan may develop rust. If it’s just a few rusty spots, simply scour the rust, rinse, dry, and rub with a little vegetable oil. If the rust problem persists, follow our directions below to refurbish the finish of your cast iron cookware.

There are few activities that I enjoy more than cooking in the great outdoors. There's something about an open flame, a dusty grill grate, and some fresh air that make cooking even more enjoyable for me. But as much as I love taking my culinary skills outside, there are definitely some challenges that cooking while camping poses. 

The biggest struggle? Cleaning up, of course. Caring for a cast iron is tricky enough when you have access to a full kitchen and running water, so you can imagine how difficult it is to keep this thing clean once you're out in the middle of nowhere at a campsite with no amenities. Worry not, there are ways to keep your prized cast iron cookware in good shape. Here's everything you need to keep in mind before you head out on your next trip.

Bring an Inexpensive Cast Iron

Listen, just because there are ways to care for your cast iron doesn't mean you should bring the best cast iron skillet that you own. Leave your prized, enameled Staub or Le Creuset items at home and opt for a more budget friendly line like Lodge or Basic Essentials. These skillets are super durable, and more importantly, they're not terribly pricey. So, if you do scruff 'em up, it's no big deal.

Related Items

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, 10″

Basic Essentials 3-Piece Cast Iron Frying Pan Set

Bring Clean Kitchen Towels and Stainless Steel Scrubbers

There's no way around the fact that you're going to get some food stuck on your pan after you've been using it for eggs, burgers, tacos, and whatever else you've got going over the fire. To help wipe these stubborn bits away, it's helpful to have some stainless steel scrubbers or a cast iron brush that can loosen stuck-on bits from the pan, as well as some clean kitchen towels to wipe it all away.

Related Items

Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scrubbing Pads (3-pk.)

Full Circle Tenacious C Cast Iron Brush

Mainstays 10-Piece Flour Sack Kitchen Towel Set

Make an Abrasive Salt Paste

If you're still having trouble removing some especially stubborn, stuck-on food particles, sprinkle the pan with salt, then add a few drops of warm water and make a paste. This will act as an abrasive and help you scrub away any lingering food bits. Wipe away any salt after you're done scrubbing.

Don’t Sweat the Soap

Most people will tell you to keep even a drop of soap miles away from your cast iron cookware. Sure — too much dish soap on your pan is not great for the pores in the cast iron, however a few drops won't ruin the skillet. If you have warm, soapy water that you're using to clean your other cookware and utensils, it's okay to use this water on your cast iron, as well. Resources are limited in the great outdoors so now is not the time to be picky over what your cast iron can and cannot handle. Make sure to dry your pan immediately with a clean towel afterwards.

A Warm Pan Is a Clean Pan

It's always easier to clean a warm pan with warm water. If you need to heat a little bit of water to pour over your pan for cleaning, then you should definitely do that. While it is generally a great trick to boil water in a dirty pan for a long time to loosen any caked-on bits, this is not ideal for a cast iron skillet because it's so porous. Instead, you'll want to pour a little bit of warm water on the dirty pan and gently massage it with a stainless steel scrubber, then dry it immediately afterwards.

Season With Oil

No matter where you're cooking, one thing that is very much a constant when it comes to cast iron care is this: The best way to keep your skillet shimmery and looking brand new is by wiping the clean, dry skillet with oil and gently warming the pan after it's been seasoned. This will keep the enamel strong and the exterior looking fresh and smooth. You can use whatever neutral flavored oil or even olive oil if that's what you brought along to cook with.

Embrace the Imperfection

The beauty of camping is doing your best to deal with the elements. If you're not able to clean your pan as thoroughly as you might be able to when you're in the comfort of your home kitchen, that's okay. Give it your best scrub, maybe a little abrasive salt paste, and a good wipe, and call it a night. There's no reason to be stressing over the state of your cast iron when you're out in nature. Make yourself a s'more and keep it moving.

Chances are you probably have an enameled cast-iron pot, pan, or Dutch oven sitting in your kitchen cabinets, but do you know how to clean enameled cast iron? Whether you treated yourself to a colorful collection from Le Creuset, or inherited your grandma's tried-and-true enameled cast iron pot, you need to know how to take care of it to ensure that it outlasts your days in the kitchen. It should come as no shock that keeping that signature cream colored finish takes work and just a little bit of TLC. And besides your cast-iron skillet, an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is one of the most trusty kitchen staples to have on hand.

Here are a few simple steps for how to clean enameled cast iron:

1. Let the Dutch oven, pot, or pan completely cool.

This step is essential. Just with any pot or pan fresh from the oven, you don't want a burst of steam to erupt when your sink water hits the piping hot vessel. Letting the enameled cast iron cool also ensures that you won't crack the enamel with a drastic temperature change.

2. Use a mild dish soap and soft nylon sponge to clean the cast iron.

Although most enameled cast irons are dishwasher safe, it's best not to put them in the dishwasher because doing so could dull the shine on the enamel. For the same reason, you also don't want to use any bleach products or harsh cleaning products on your enameled cast iron. A nylon sponge is recommended to avoid scratching the enamel.

3. If necessary, use a silicone pot scraper to work off any burnt-on bits of food.

Stubborn bits of food always seem to find their way onto all of our pots and pans. We know it's tempting to go to town with a reliable metal brush or scrub pad, but for the love of good cookware, don't do it on your enameled cast iron. Metal scrubs can easily scratch and chip your enameled cast iron, which in the long run won't have a major effect on the functionality, but it won't look nearly as pretty. If you do need a little extra reinforcement when cleaning off a pot, you can buy a silicon pot scraper in the kitchen section of most stores or online.

4. Rinse, dry, and store the clean enameled cast iron.

Now that your enameled cast iron is squeaky clean, simply give it one last rinse and dry it off with a soft towel. When you store it, be sure that you don't stack any other dishes on top of it. Stacking could also scratch or chip the enamel. If you want to prevent loud clanging of the pot and lid every time you pick it up, you can buy pot protectors, which slide on the lip of the pot.

5. If staining occurs…

Keep in mind that some staining may happen as you continue to use the pot, which is nothing to be ashamed of – It means you're getting good use out of a kitchen staple. If you want to remove staining, you can make a paste of baking soda and water and use the same soft sponge to rub the paste in a circular motion on the pot. The paste is slightly more abrasive than the sponge, but won't scrape or damage your pot.

Now that you know how to clean enameled cast iron, you're off to the races to see how many recipes you can make using it. You might as well consider your enameled cast-iron Dutch oven your future contribution to the family heirloom collection.  

How to clean a cast

Cast iron is good non-toxic cookware and it also promotes your health and wellbeing, but many people are reluctant to switch to cast iron cookware because they have a bad reputation in the cleaning and maintenance department which is not true. With proper cleaning techniques and regular seasoning, the cast iron cookware will last for many years. In the article, we will present you with a step by step process on how to clean cast iron skillets and cookware.

Benefits of cast iron cookware

Cast iron cookware has been there for many decades and modern science and chefs are re-discovering the benefits of cooking in cast iron. They are tough, durable, and lasts for years if maintained properly. The cast-iron skillets and cookware retain heat very well for extended times when compared to other utensils. Every time you cook in cast iron you season them and they only get better.

There are also some health benefits you can enjoy by just cooking cast iron utensils. A small amount of iron will be absorbed by the food. Your body will get needed iron to function properly. Iron is a component in the hemoglobin which is essential in carrying oxygenated blood in your body. Lack of iron in the body also called anemia, will lead to several health problems. Cast iron skillets are also recommended to people who are anemic.

How to clean cast iron cookware

  • Cleaning the cast iron skillet after cooking is the best practice. Never leave your cast iron skillet submerged or filled with water because it will rust your cast iron.
  • Normally just dry cleaning with a dishwashing cloth is enough for a well-seasoned iron skillet. The food which is stuck to the pan should come off easily.
  • If at all your pan is not seasoned and there are bits and pieces of stubborn food stuck to your pan. Wash it under hot boiling water to loosen the food. Put some cleaning gloves if the water is too hot and use a sponge or scrubber to clean the iron skillet. Never use steel wools, metal-based scrubbers, soaps, and dishwashers because they will strip the seasoning.
  • Now dry the cast iron pan and wipe it with a cotton cloth thoroughly. As you have used water to clean, there is a higher risk of corrosion. As long as it is properly done there is nothing to worry about. You can use an oven or stove on low heat to completely dry the iron skillet.
  • Now it is ready for seasoning. Take a paper towel or cloth and slightly apply the vegetable oil all over the pan. You may also do this to the outside area of the pan if you wish. Clean the excess oil with tissues or sponge and store it in a dry place because small amounts of rusting will occur if the storage is wet or moist. To avoid this from happening, palace a towel on the pan to absorb any moisture.

How to clean cast iron skillet if it is rusted

  • First, scrape off all the rust by rubbing with steel wool on the rusted areas. Do it until you see the normal cast iron surface.
  • Wash the iron skillet with warm water and dish soap. Take a bristle brush and rub it on the rusted areas. You may use a metal mesh if needed.
  • Dry the cast iron pan thoroughly until there is no residue of any liquids.
  • Season your pan with vegetable oil including the bottom and outer surface of the iron pan.
  • Place it in the oven with aluminum foil to absorb the dripping oil for 1 hour at 350.
  • Let the pan cool and store it in a dry place.

Using potatoes to clean the rust off cast iron pan :

Potatoes contain oxalic acid, which helps to break down the rust in your cast iron cookware. This is non-toxic so you can also use this method below to clean other kitchen and household tools.

Cut the potato in half so that you get two potatoes with flat sides on both. Drizzle some salt or baking soda on your cast iron pan and rub it in circular motions thoroughly with the flat side of the potato.

Check the potato for any color changes and residue. Slice off that part and repeat this process until all the rust is removed.

Clean and dry the pan by following the same procedure as mentioned in the above sections and store it in a dry place with a cloth to absorb any moisture.

Learn how to thoroughly wash your pan without causing damage.

If you own a cast iron skillet, you know that cleaning it properly is important. Cast iron pans can rust easily without proper care and should be seasoned in order to build flavor. But if you know exactly how to care for yours, a true cast iron skillet will last a lifetime—and it'll continue to get better with age. Ahead, find out how to clean cast iron and enameled cast iron pans, plus how to properly season a cast iron skillet.

How to Clean Cast Iron Skillets

The most important thing to know about cleaning cast iron skillets (meaning non-enameled) is that you should not use soap, soak it in water overnight, or put it in the dishwasher. Doing any of these things can ruin its natural seasoning. Instead, use very hot water and a mild, non-abrasive sponge to clean the pan after each use. Avoid using steel wool or other harsh materials to clean, as they can also damage the pan. To remove any stuck-on bits of food, use a combination of coarse salt and hot water to form a paste and scrub gently, then rinse with hot water. After washing a cast iron skillet, dry it thoroughly to remove any excess water droplets and prevent rust from forming.

How to Season Cast Iron Skillets

Seasoning a cast iron skillet has nothing to do with herbs and spices; instead, it's all about using oil to build up a nonstick surface and prevent rusting. While you should clean the skillet after each use, season it as often as you like by rubbing a small amount of cooking oil on the inside of the pan using a paper towel or dish cloth. Heat the skillet in a 350°F oven for one hour, which bonds the oil to the pan to create a natural nonstick surface. "The fat becomes carbon particles, which creates the naturally non-stick, or easy release. The more people cook with cast iron, the more oils are imparted onto the cookware. With the heat from cooking, they become carbon particles," says Mark Kelly of Lodge Cast Iron.